Large group of eyeglasses in an eyewear store display.

Eyeglasses are your window to the world. They also are one of the first things others notice about you.

Wondering how to put your best face forward? Here are some tips for choosing the right eyeglass frames.

1. Get the right fit.

Did you know that eyeglasses come in different sizes? Eyeglass frame sizes use three different numbers:

  • Lens width, measured horizontally. This calculation makes sure the frames fit the width of your face.
  • Bridge width, which is the distance between the lenses. This measurement ensures they rest comfortably on your nose. Which size you need depends on the width of your nose in the place where your eyeglasses sit.
  • Temple length, which is the length of the arm, measured starting at the hinge. If it’s too tight, you might get headaches. If it’s too loose, your glasses may slip down your nose.

Your optician will help you find the right size frame for you.

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2. Accent your face shape.

There are six basic face shapes. To determine which one you have, pull your hair back and look into a mirror. See which shape mostly closely matches your face, noting your forehead, cheek, and chin areas.

Here are some basic characteristics of the various shapes and tips for choosing the best eyeglass frames for each.

  • Round: In a round face, the cheekbones are the widest part. Balance that with rectangular frames that elongate and thin the face.
  • Square: Similar to a round face, this face shape will have a wider jawline. Here, you’ll want to soften the angles with a rounder frame.
  • Oval/Oblong: This face is longer than it is wide. Choose a frame that is as wide as or wider than the broadest part of your face.
  • Triangle: With a narrow forehead and a wider cheek and chin area, cat-eye shapes can broaden the eye area. This style features rounded lenses with with angled top corners.
  • Diamond shaped: Narrow at the forehead and chin, these faces typically have high, wide cheekbones. Oval or cat-eye shape frames can soften the cheekbones.
  • Heart shaped: With a wider top than bottom, you can balance this face shape with frames that are thicker or have more detailing at the bottom.

3. Consider your lifestyle.

Here are three key questions to ask yourself:

What look do you want?

Professionals might opt for classic shapes, like ovals and rectangles, and traditional colors, such as brown, gray, black, or metallic.

More creative types could look for retro or vintage styles or colors and finishes with more flair. Or choose an updated “classic” style that has thicker or larger frames than usual.

How active are you?

Do you mostly sit in front of a computer or will you be wearing your eyeglasses during sporting activities? If you need your glasses to stand up to wear and tear, consider a more rugged set of metal frames. Good choices are those made from titanium or stainless steel.

While plastic is lightweight and good for small children, plastic frames can break more easily than metal frames.

Choose a spring hinge, which is more durable and also fits more snugly during activity. They’re also less likely to have the arms get bent out of shape.

Lenses matter too: Plastic lenses are lighter and safer than glass lenses. Polycarbonate lenses are more impact resistant for those who play sports.

What extras do you need?

Lenses can come with protective coatings that make them more functional. These include:

  • Anti-reflective coatings to reduce glare and prevent eye strain. These are especially helpful for people who work in front of a computer or drive a lot.
  • UV coatings that can help protect your eyes from harmful sun rays.

4. Consider your prescription.

The stronger your prescription, the heavier the lenses will be. If you have a particularly strong prescription, you may want to aim for the smallest frames that work for you.

If you are near-sighted, you need more help seeing far away. These lenses are thinner in the middle and thicker at the outer edges. The stronger your prescription is, the thicker the outer edges of your lenses will be. This thicker part will be more noticeable in cat-eye or rimless glasses.

If you are both near-sighted and far-sighted (trouble reading up close), you might have bifocal or multifocal lenses, also called progressive lenses. These types of lenses contain two or more prescriptions in different parts of the lens. To ensure you can use each part of the lens, avoid a cat-eye frames, which have limited space for the bottommost prescription.

5. Compare costs.

Eyeglass frames come at a wide variety of price points. A recent Consumer Reports study found they generally range from $100 to $400. Your vision insurance may cover all or part of your purchase or include extras. For example, through UPMC, you can get a second pair of glasses at a 40% discount.

Eyeglasses are far more than an accessory so you want to open your eyes to just the right pair. Curious how different frames would look on your face? Take a look at the new virtual try-on feature available through the UPMC Vision Institute.

About UPMC Vision Institute

The UPMC Vision Institute is a national leader in the treatment of eye diseases and disorders. We seek to improve and restore your vision to help your quality of life, diagnosing and treating a wide range of conditions in both children and adults. Our treatments include both surgical and nonsurgical options. We also offer routine eye screenings and have full-scale optical shops. Find an eye expert close to you.